UPDATE: Chef Donnie Ferneau of The 1836 Club has won Diamond Chef Arkansas 2016.
Tonight is a celebration of Arkansas’ culinary excellence at the annual Diamond Chef Arkansas competition, a fundraising event for the Pulaski Technical College Foundation, held at the college’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute (CAHMI) in Little Rock.
This year’s competing chefs are CAHMI’s own Philippe Ducrot; Donnie Ferneau of The 1836 Club; Bonner Cameron of Bistro Catering & Gourmet Take Away; Angela Nix of The Quarter; Justin Patterson of Southern Gourmasian; and Jason Knapp of Sysco.
In previous years, the competition preliminaries were held at a separate location (once the Peabody Hotel lobby, and later the new CAHMI facility) and the finals were a formal event at Statehouse Convention Center some months later. This year, the combined event takes place in one night, with activities across the entire CAHMI facility.
While chefs compete in several rounds within the Gold Competition Lab, with its several video-ready cooking galleys, guests wander the facility for student-made hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and even house-brewed beers and root beer. To add some fun, guests are competing in a fitted-sheet folding competition in the hospitality training area, learning knife skills from students in the Community Education Kitchen, and sampling speciality beverages created in honor of each of the six competing chefs.
Eliminated as of 7:50 p.m.:
Competing in the Finals:
After two rounds of final dishes, Donnie Ferneau was declared the winner.